Report: U.S. Providing Assad Regime With anti-Islamic State Intelligence

Syrian newspaper says Washington informed Damascus of IS leaders’ whereabouts prior to successful attacks on Islamists.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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A U.S. military plane lands on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf.
A U.S. military plane lands on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Western diplomatic sources admitted Monday morning that despite the sweeping denials and the United States’ declared opposition there is intelligence cooperation between Damascus and Washington. According a report in the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan Monday, the cooperation is conducted through an unnamed third party and is not direct.

The third party conducts security consultations with the Americans and through them receives intelligence information that is ultimately transmitted to the Syrians. This includes information about the movements of Islamic State convoys, meetings of the organization’s leaders, and weapons and ammunitions armories that IS fighters have seized in Iraq or on Syrian territory.

The report contains no specific information about the party that helps the Syrians and mediates with the Americans, but according to Western sources the assumption is that it is Iraqi intelligence, or Russian or German mediators, or a joint operations headquarters set up in the Kurdish city Erbil in Iraq.

According to the report, in recent weeks the Syrians received very reliable information about clandestine meetings of IS leaders and their movements, and the Syrian air force attacked the targets based on that information and reported precise hits. It was also reported that the Syrian army received vital information thanks to this cooperation and attacked quite a number of IS targets on Syrian soil, including weapons storehouses.

Sources cited by the newspaper mention an attack by the Syrian army in late August on IS headquarters in the village of Mohsen on the eastern outskirts of the city of Deir ez-Zor at a time when commanders of various nationalities were convening, in addition to the August 5 attack near the city of Raqqah, the IS capital in northeastern Syria, when 18 of the organization’s fighters were killed, among them a U.S. citizen who joined IS and was wanted by the Americans.

The newspaper emphasized U.S. attempts to deny any cooperation with Damascus, and proposed that the Americans are concealing it due to commitments to the Saudis or Qataris, and because of the timing while the U.S. is continuing with its attempts to mobilize a broad coalition against IS.

According to the sources, Washington will ultimately be forced to admit the cooperation indirectly, due to the precise attacks by the Syrian army on IS sites, which are hard to find without precise intelligence information.

Fighters from Islamic State march in Raqqa, Syria. This undated photo was posted on a militant website on Jan. 14, 2014.Credit: AP

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